McDonald's Pushes for Case to Proceed Against Former CEO
By Heather Haddon
McDonald's Corp. pushed back at former CEO Steve Easterbrook's
attempts to dismiss its lawsuit seeking to claw back his severance,
saying that his attorney's questions about the thoroughness of its
investigation into his affairs should be addressed in court.
The burger company fired Mr. Easterbrook without cause in
November after he acknowledged having a consensual relationship
with an employee. The company said in August that an investigation
stemming from a tip found evidence that Mr. Easterbrook lied to
investigators and its board to cover up additional sexual
relationships with employees to secure a multimillion-dollar
McDonald's said its investigators unearthed email messages with
attachments that contained dozens of nude and sexually explicit
photos and videos of Mr. Easterbrook with company employees and
other women between late 2018 and early 2019. Mr. Easterbrook
allegedly destroyed that evidence off his electronic devices, and
the company later found it on its computer servers.
Mr. Easterbrook's attorney, responding to the company's suit,
said in a filing two weeks ago that McDonald's had his email
account stored on company servers when it first investigated his
conduct last October.
The attorney, Delaware-based Daniel Herr, didn't immediately
respond to a request for comment Monday. He previously wrote that
McDonald's filed a meritless and misleading lawsuit in the wrong
court venue. Mr. Herr didn't comment directly on the allegations
raised about Mr. Easterbrook's alleged sexual relationships within
"This brazen attempt at table-turning has no merit," McDonald's
wrote in a filing in Delaware Court of Chancery.
McDonald's said in the filing that the evidence would have been
"buried somewhere in the tens of thousands of his emails" in the
company's servers, and that critiques of the thoroughness of the
company's investigation don't hold up.
The company has said its continuing investigation into Mr.
Easterbrook is also looking into the possibility of whether the
former CEO covered up improprieties by other employees, including
personnel in the human-resources department led by its former HR
chief, David Fairhurst. McDonald's said that Mr. Fairhurst was
fired for cause soon after Mr. Easterbrook's termination for
reportedly making women at the company uncomfortable on numerous
occasions. Mr. Fairhurst said he left the company to pursue other
Write to Heather Haddon at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 31, 2020 09:09 ET (13:09 GMT)
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